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Gamer Tuesday

January 24, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Pinocchio

Developed by: Disney Interactive, Virgin Entertainment

System: Super Nintendo, Genesis, Game Boy

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are...

Right after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released, Walt Disney and his creative team had nowhere to go but up, and boy did they go up! Pinocchio nearly perfected every asset presented in Snow White; from the character animation to the way the story is presented. Even if the movie didn't originally set box office records when it first premiered, it has become one of the most iconic animated movies ever made, constantly appearing in many �Best of� lists. It even defines the Disney company as a whole, and has created several attractions based on it. While Pinocchio at first doesn't seem to be the kind of movie that merits a video game based on it, the wild popularity of the film with children and adults did make it ripe for a solid video game adaptation.

Developed by Disney Interactive in conjunction with Virgin Entertainment (which developed other Disney titles like Mickey Mania and the Genesis version of Aladdin), Pinocchio is a platformer title where players go through some of the major events of the film playing as either Pinocchio or Jiminy Cricket on a special stage. This means that you will be experiencing alongside Pinocchio the thrills of discovering life for the first time, becoming an involuntary star in Stromboli's puppet show and even escaping the wrath of Monstro the whale. The film, despite its theme of dreams, wishes and believing in the impossible, was a very action heavy story, with many scenes being grand in scale. So it lends itself very well towards a video game adaptation.

Pinocchio came in the mid-to-late 90s, when licensed platformers were very common place (many of them were Disney themed as a matter of fact), which means that one of the cons the game faces is that it really doesn't set itself apart from the other efforts of the era. It is perfectly happy just giving us the basics is a very pretty manner. It didn't help that the game was released when the 16-bit era of gaming was slowly dying off just as the next era was making its way into the mainstream, so that made Pinocchio an almost forgotten title.

That's not to say that the game is bad, though. As basic as the game may seem to the average player, it does do a good job of bringing the movie to video game form. The difficulty setting (which can be altered to a player's liking) is fine enough that young fans of the movie can come in and play it to their hearts content.

Another reason the game is a solid effort is because a lot of thought went into presenting Pinocchio as a video game title. Like I mentioned earlier, Pinocchio is a looker, featuring some of the best animation early Disney has ever produced. The character sprites may not always reach the same high caliber presented in hand drawn video games like Aladdin for the Genesis and Mickey Mania, but they are very colorful and move very smoothly, giving it a lush hand drawn look to it all. The levels closely resembled the hand painted backgrounds of the film, and the big action pieces look great. Not only that, we get little details like the title card of the movie, as well as the book seen in the opening scene and other stills ripped right out of the film. I've spoken before about how important authenticity is in licensed video games, and Pinocchio does a great job at respecting the film's legacy by accurately depicting it in terms of graphics.

Music is also a great asset in Pinocchio, both the film and the video game adaptation. When you wish upon a star not only has become an anthem for all things Disney, it has been ingrained into our popular culture, perfectly capturing the abstract nature of faith and believing in our own dreams. The video game proudly give us a beautiful 16-bit rendition of the tune. Other tunes that can be heard include An Actor's Life for Me and I've Got No Strings on Me. The original tunes also capture Pinocchio's plucky musical nature and do a good job of providing players with a lot of atmosphere to absorb.

Pinocchio the video game doesn't exactly break new ground in terms of licensed games and video game adaptations, but it certainly is a very pretty and solid title that uses the film's assets in the best manner possible. It is just as simple as wishing upon a star...


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